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Demopolis council eyes property near city landing

The City of Demopolis is working toward taking ownership of property near the City Landing area.

According to Mayor John Laney, certain areas from Bluff Hall north to the landing, including George Franks Field and the river walk, are under the ownership of the Vanity Fair Trust, an organization he said no longer exists. The city has maintained the property for over 20 years, which allows the city to file for adverse possession.

“The city has paid insurance and upheld that property for over 20 years. Based on the length of time we’ve maintained the property, by law, the city may take possession of the property,” Laney said.

The city council approved by unanimous vote a motion to begin the process of taking ownership of the property.

The council also voted to amend the city’s personnel manual as it pertains to employee career development and specialized training.

The city does pay for employees to undergo mandatory training. With the measure approved last week, the city will also pay for certain specialized training as well, but an employee will reimburse the city a certain amount if they were to leave their positions.

“If an employee chooses to participate in other courses that further their skills, the city will pay that expense. If the employee chooses to end its employment with the city, that employee will reimburse the city based on the time that has passed (since the training),” Laney said.

The employee will reimburse the city based on a graduating scheduled that goes up to three years.

“Our thought is if the employee stays with the city for three years, we have received the full benefit of the training and the employee has fulfilled any financial obligation,” the mayor said.

Other items discussed by the council included:

• an upcoming appointment to the Demopolis City School Board. One seat on the board expires in April and Laney asked council members to begin making the public aware of the position.

“We want to make people aware when these seats become available so (the council) can fill them in a timely manner,” Laney said.

Anyone wishing to apply for the school board seat is welcome to visit city hall for the required application form.

• approving a resolution of support regarding proposed state regulations on childcare businesses. The proposed legislation would include background checks for those applying for a childcare business license.

• voting in favor of a resolution of support regarding opiate distribution. The resolution was encouraged by the Alabama Attorney General and involved a nationwide class action lawsuit against certain distributors.

• Building Inspector Julius Rembert reported that the city has mailed two notifications of demolition to property owners in the city’s ongoing dilapidated properties effort. Rembert said the city has completed 12 demolitions and another four are in the process.

• congratulating City Clerk Sam Gross on her recent appointment as treasurer of the Alabama Association of Municipal Clerks and Administrators.

• tabling a discussion regarding an appointment to the Demopolis Water and Sewer Board.

• approving an amendment to the personnel manual regarding holidays.

The next city council meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 4, 5:15 p.m., at Rooster Hall. The public is invited to attend.

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, December 27 issue of the Demopolis Times.)